Gatsibo site is one of the Sustainable Agriculture Intensification and Food security Project (SAIP) intervention sites across Rwanda. SAIP’s main development objective is to increase agricultural productivity, market access, and food security of the targeted beneficiaries in the project intervention areas across the country.
Maize grown in the rain-fed area. Improved agricultural practices have led to increased yield, improved incomes and livelihoods of farmers.
Gatsibo site is located in Gatsibo District, Eastern Province. It lies in the sectors of Gatsibo and Kageyo. It’s at about 1 hour and 50 minutes drive from Kigali city. Out of the total area treated with comprehensive land husbandry technologies, 405.90Ha are subjected to rain fed agriculture, 45Ha gross area in the command area was developed for hillside irrigation.
Farmers irrigating crops in the command area. Water availability has enabled farmers to focus more on higher export-value crops.
In the site, there are 1,084 Farmers’ households (1,187 males & 617 females). Farmers have been organized into 87 Self Help Groups (SHGs) spread across 7 zones. SHGs have since formed 1 strong and dynamic cooperative, and 1 Water Users Association (WUA).
Farmers in a Self Help Group (SHG) meeting. Belonging to a SHG has the potential to empower members through the provision of knowledge, skills, motivation, and competencies that underpin sustainable agriculture.
Farmers have been organised in cooperatives. Cooperatives are playing a crucial role in the hunger and poverty alleviation, in the promotion of social harmony and in the achievement of more equitable economic growth.
WAUs are responsible for water management techniques including, rehabilitation of irrigation network canals, supervision of water distribution, pricing and water rights systems in order to conserve water and achieve higher water efficiency productivity among beneficiaries (farmers).
In order to increase the productivity of farmers in SAIP sites, the Project equipped farmers organized under cooperatives with greenhouse structures to enhance productivity, improve the quality of the yield and as well promote the use of technology.
At the beginning, farmers organized under cooperatives cultivated tomatoes in greenhouses and yield from greenhouse is five times higher than the one from open field.
Greenhouse technology has turned around their fortunes because tomato fruits are fairly big in size, attractive, and in large quantity.
With greenhouse farming, farmers are able to reduce the effects of unfavorable weather conditions such as high temperature, strong winds, heavy rainfall, hail storms and as well as pests and diseases on crops, hence leading to increased yield.
The tomato yield from greenhouse has huge market potential due its good looking and big size.
Farmers have cultivated beans, maize, vegetables and fruits and the yield has significantly increased due to improved agricultural practices and the availability of water for irrigation.
The use of improved seeds and balanced inputs have enabled farmers to improve productivity in the crop fields.
Grain drying and storage facility constructed in Gatsibo. This structure enables farmers to improve their capacity to meet market needs and also promote quality of the produce.
The project has equipped farmers with 3 post harvest storage facilities, 4 dryers, 1 greenhouse and 1 banana produce collection centre. All these post harvest facilities have significantly contributed towards increased yield and the reduction of post-harvest losses.
In an effort to improve household nutrition among pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under the age of five, SAIP provided chicken (layers) to Gatsibo farmers’ households categorised under Ubudehe 1 and 2.
SAIP distributed chicken to farmers with an intention to provide animal source of proteins through egg consumption for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under the age of five at household level.
Eggs are not only rich on proteins, they also provide several other nutrients that are important to children, pregnant women and lactating mothers including, iron, vitamin D, chlorine, and selenium, as well as an assortment of minerals and vitamin B.
Improving nutrition outcomes at household level; SAIP targets to improve nutritional outcomes at the household level in the project areas by increasing access to healthy and diversified foods and by promoting good practices for improving nutrition.